Have you ever been awakened by your dog pacing around at night? Suddenly you’re hearing those little toenails click, click, clicking on the hardwood floors while you’re trying to sleep. Do they need to go out? Are they feeling poorly? Should you get out of your warm, cozy cocoon and see what they want? While most dogs and cats have learned to settle in when we humans do, every so often some have problems settling down when the sun disappears. In this article, I’ll go through some of the reasons your pet may have trouble winding down, and what you can do to help them rest comfortably for the night. Dogs have been man’s best friend for a long time, which means they’ve had a lot of time to get used to our routines, including when it’s time to sleep. Those of us who share a home with a canine friend usually don’t have any issues with nighttime prowling or sniffing about, but it can happen. Most domesticated cats have also generally adapted to the human’s nighttime ritual, but sometimes their nocturnal nature kicks in and they awaken in the wee hours ready to hunt prey, create chaos, and otherwise just be a cat. So what causes this nighttime revelry, and what are the steps you can take to help your precious pet settle in? Causes of Restlessness As far as dogs are concerned, restlessness is most commonly seen in puppies and younger dogs. Because they spend so much time sleeping during the day, there is a chance that when you’re ready to go to bed, they are ready for playtime. In mature or senior dogs, the reasons for nighttime disquiet can be more complex. Dementia is one of the possible causes for restlessness in pets, especially in older dogs and cats. If your senior animal paces the floors and simply cannot find peace during the night, you will want a vet to determine if there are health issues contributing to this condition. Pain can also cause nighttime pacing. Sometimes it’s as small as a bug bite that itches, but it can be any number of things – sore or torn muscles, painful growing bones, a cracked tooth or nail. In these cases, a vet visit is also in order. Anxiety is another cause for ceaseless pacing in some pets. It may surprise you to know that dogs and cats are very much like humans in this way. Think about how hard it is for you to fall asleep when you are stressed out about something. The same thing happens to our pets, and they pace the floors. Prevention An ounce of prevention is the best course of action. We sleep better after a full day of activities, exercise, and fun, and so do our pets. One of the best ways to prevent your pet from being restless at night is to make sure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day. Take a long walk with your dog, and encourage your kitty to play with a variety of interactive toys. Training lessons and playing games will work too. Hide some CANIDAE treats around the house and encourage your pet to go find them, play fetch, crumple up a paper bag; whatever it takes help wear them out and calm them down. Cure If you have reason to believe your pet is pacing due to physical issues and not simply a lack of exercise and stimulation, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to determine your options. If your pet suffers from anxiety, dementia, or pain, the best you can do is follow your veterinarian’s advice and proceed from there. Some problems that cause your pet to lose sleep can be fixed with a simple procedure or medication. Not all problems can be cured, but they can be managed enough to make your furry companion comfortable and able to rest at night. While it may be annoying when your pet paces during the night, try not to get mad at them. They’re likely not very happy with the situation either. It’s your responsibility to determine if the issue is physical, mental, or emotional and take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone gets back to a good night’s sleep.